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Extended Audio Sample Aloft, by Chang-Rae Lee Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,427 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chang-Rae Lee Narrator: Don Leslie Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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New York Times bestseller Aloft follows the life of Jerry Battle, whose favorite diversion is to take his small plane and fly solo over Long Island. When his daughter and her fiancé arrive from Oregon to announce their marriage plans and Theresa's dangerous pregnancy, he thinks back over his life and begins to face his disengagement with it and with his relationships with others: with his deceased wife, the circumstances of whose death he has never fully admitted to; with his former girlfriend, for whom he still longs; with his pregnant daughter, who refuses to address the cancer that is killing her; with his son, who is losing the family business; and with his father, who is in a nursing home. Aloft is a quiet yet intense study of family, the American dream, and the American character.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I appreciate a writer who’s not overzealously committed to any one ideology or group, who likes to confound expectations, and who feels expansive enough in his spirit and ambitions to encompass not just his close kinsmen but the infamous Other. With Aloft, Chang-rae Lee proves himself just such a writer…[A] master craftsman.”

    Washington Post

  • “Lee’s genius is this confidential voice, full of cultural analysis, ironic asides, sexual candor, and unconscious revelations, laced along through one breathless paragraph after another in improbably extended sentences, perpetually buoyed by with and insight. He’s perfectly captured the conflicted confidence of a man who knows he can be a jerk but hopes that knowing that might win him consolation.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Lee is a master in developing Battle’s narrative voice, one that is gentle, wistful, appealingly befuddled. There is great humor in the novel as well…He has delivered an affecting portrait of a man trying to define his place as a father, son, and lover in America today.”

    Boston Globe

  • “[A] majestic, moving novel….The glossy flawlessness of Lee’s prose is itself a metaphor, a symbol of the superficial perfection of America’s suburban splendor. Even though you can barely see the fault lines and stress fractures just below the surface, somehow it makes you feel them that much more keenly.”

    Time

  • “The prose is buoyant, as if, like Jerry, Lee himself feels liberated from the implacable laws of gravity governing American society…Aloft ends up as a homily in praise of gravity, though the ride that Lee provides fulfills the continued promise of lift…Prose that rise to heights above merely mundane sights and thoughts.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Accomplished, easygoing, gorgeously written…Like Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter or Richard Russo’s Straight Man, this wry, meditative novel relies entirely on Jerry’s voice to bring alive a wide cast of characters.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Lee writes with humor and acuity, swirling comic wit and subtlety into scenes so mundane and yet so poignant that the heart sighs in recognition…In a series of deft moves and touching, often droll moments, Lee links Jerry inextricably to his family. He also lets Jerry speak directly to the reader, like some actor winking into the camera, revealing the pretend to be all the more real.”

    USA Today

  • “Slyly entertaining…Filled with passage of revelation about who we are and what we are becoming.”

    San Jose Mercury News

  • “Chang-rae Lee writes about the complication of American life with a nuanced attention that is awesome…Aloft unfolds like a little origami box, each fold revealing yet another aspect of the complexities of aspirations, avocations, and ethnicities as they coalesce in the life of one Long Island family…Lee illumines Herry’s thoughts in the best Cheever-esque manner…In this rich, tragicomic, and thoroughly engrossing novel of suburban American life, Lee puts a masterful and poetic touch on the interstices of fragile emotional lives.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Lee is a spellbinder…When it comes to emotion, Lee is pitch-perfect…[Lee] pulls us inside Jerry’s skin, and we share in all his love and confusion and his fully realized humanity.”

    Hartford Courant

  • “[An] astonishing novel…Full of surprises, of emotional land mines…Chang-rae Lee designs beautifully meandering sentences that capture and pull a reader to the most unexpected of places…Simply getting lost in the author’s elegant and surprising prose is pleasure enough, but Lee is also a gifted storyteller, able to create scenes and images of profound emotional beauty…Stunning, full of vivid, off-kilter details that both shock and resonate…The joy of Aloft is not only its brilliant depiction of a modern man’s foundering attempt to keep his life perfectly manageable but also its deft ability to conjure up the most vibrant of feelings from a narrator who claims he has none. With this spectacular book, Chang-rae Lee proves himself one of our most riveting and remarkable novelists.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “This is a story that rises above the trials and tribulations of one family. It’s a book about a vast slice of American society, its changing ethnicities and colors, its blurring of urban-suburban life, its ethical and moral choices, and its seemingly inherent optimism. In short, it’s a terrific book.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • Aloft is a traditional American novel in the best sense of the word traditional—a compelling plot, characters who change as the years pass, believable dialogue, a writing style that never perplexes, and turns of phrase that illuminate humanity in new ways…Beguilingly insightful.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “The novel captures the ‘now’ and presents character that buzz with life…Lee invents narrators who, like the natural-born storyteller at a good cocktail party, can’t help but draw and keep a crowd…A fabulous storyteller.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “In Aloft, [Lee] proves that he can evoke the desires and disappointments of the suburban territory mapped by Cheever, Yates, and Updike with similar artistry and compassion.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Affecting [and] richly ruminative…Lee presents us with a well-crafted, beguiling study of an insider looking for an out…By turns drolly incisive and elegiac, penetrating and poignant, Aloft, though a departure for Lee…is as provocative as it is evocative. Wonderfully curmudgeonly at times, the novel is peppered throughout with keen social observations…[A] hot ticket of a novel.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “Part of what makes the novel so successful is that Lee isn’t intent on blowing sunshine at us when we know life brings its share of bad weather. He succeeds in portraying the emotional growth of a man in terms that fit his character and culture…Aloft views suburban American life through the universal prism of a family growing up and growing old together. Without loop-the-loops or skywriting, Lee brings us quietly down to earth, engaging us in ‘the mystery ad majesty of out brief living.’”

    Rocky Mountain News

  • “Lee applies his remarkable storytelling skills to create a monstrous first-person narrator…A masterly portrait of a disaffected personality.”

    Library Journal

  • “Lee’s poetic prose sits well in the mouth of this aging Italian-American whose sentences turn unexpected corners…Jerry’s humble and skeptical voice and Lee’s genuine compassion for his compromised characters make for a truly moving story about modern family.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • One of the 2004 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sarra | 2/9/2014

    " I got this audio book from the clearance table at Half Price Books. I grab anything that looks even mildly interesting, sometimes I get lucky, sometimes not. This was one of the lucky times. I really enjoyed this story of a 60ish widower and the trials and tribulations of his family. Set in Long Island, NY and the surrounding areas it gave me a welcome reminder of home. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by craige | 2/7/2014

    " I picked this book up at a used book store knowing nothing about it. So far, so good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by WK | 1/22/2014

    " I really liked this story and the way it was told. Over all it proves you are never too old to grow up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Nathan | 1/18/2014

    " Tangents are good, so long as you don't go down them. I'll read this again, which is the highest compliment I can give to a book. "

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